Friday, May 16, 2008

Catholics in New York: Past & Present

Yesterday, I went to the opening reception for the new exhibit "Catholics in New York: 1808-1946" at the Museum of the City of New York, located on 5th Avenue at 103rd Street.

Glenn Collins had an article in yesterday's New York Times about the exhibit. This was his description:

The show, with some 400 objects and images, includes political banners, parochial school report cards, yearbooks going back to the 19th century, vestments, school uniforms, trophies, academic medals and a pew rental receipt. There are holy cards, ceremonial swords, parade sashes and a first communion outfit from 1941. And there are more than 100 family photographs, as well as oral histories on audio and video conducted for the exhibition.

In his remarks at the reception, New York's archbishop, Cardinal Edward Egan, spoke of some of the early Catholic inhabitants of NYC who went on to become saints of the Church. He referenced St. Elizabeth Ann Seton and St. John Neumann -- even though Baltimore and Philadelphia try to claim them, he joked.

Cardinal Egan noted that there are currently eight New Yorkers being considered for canonization. Yours truly is personally doing some praying especially for two of those eight -- Paulist Father Isaac Hecker (1819-1888) and Catholic Worker founder Dorothy Day (1897-1980) -- both of whom were pictured in the exhibit.

Both the exhibit and Cardinal Egan also highlighted the tremendous social services work that has been done in the city by Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York.

Last night, after the reception, I made my way downtown to Red Sky Bar & Lounge on East 29th Street where the Catholic Charities Junior Board was holding a fundraiser to benefit the organization.

Perhaps this was some more history in the making.

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